Thursday, 3 May 2018

Avengers: Infinity War. Dudes, cut off the arm!

Another month, another Marvel movie, and because the stakes have to keep going up no matter what, everyone but Hawkeye shows up in an effort to save half the universe.


It may take them a sequel and a crazy-big time machine to pull that one off. 

Still, they have two things going for them. The first is that Thanos is an idiot, and the second is that the Avengers are, collectively and individually, also idiots. So all they need is a time machine and a plan which involves even one Avenger not being an idiot. I’d say that doesn’t seem much to ask, but I’ve just watched Avengers: Infinity War and you know what they say about past performance being the best guide to the future … 

Why is Thanos an idiot? Because he’s a prisoner of habit. In the course of the movie he accumulates all the Infinity Stones, which give him more and more powers to warp reality, cut people into cubes by thinking about it, and basically anything which the special effects team thinks looks good. And the closer he gets to collecting the complete set, the more time he spends getting stuck in punchups with the Avengers. Sure, he needs all six stones to be able to wipe half the universe by clicking his fingers, but by the time he’s collected four of them he can win any fight by rigging it his way and the fifth lets him turn back time without even looking for Cher’s assistance. Why is he still getting into fistfights?

And why are the Avengers idiots? Because Thanos can’t be bothered wearing a helmet, and his power resides in a big metal glove at the end of a big unarmoured arm. So naturally no-one puts a bullet in his head, even when they’ve got a gun pointing at his eye from three inches out, and no-one even tries to cut his arm off, even though Dr Strange can cut anything off anything else (and DOES cut an arm off a bogey in the early going), the Hulk can tear the arm off most things (including his own robot suit) and and Thor has an axe which can cut through anything he throws it at. No glove, no power. There’s even a ridiculous scene where a whole bunch of Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy band together to try to pull the glove off Thanos, but somehow draw the line at doing it the easy way.

So, morons.

Then there’s Thanos’ master plan, which is based on the notion that the universe will be a better place if half the sentient creatures in it are randomly killed. Firstly, this is at best a temporary fix. People breed. Kill half of them, and in a hundred years the numbers will be right back up where they were. Secondly, you can’t kill half the people. Well, you can, and Thanos - SPOILERS - does. The problem is what happens to everyone on a bus when the bus driver is one of the random choices. Or everyone within half a mile of a nuclear power plant when you kill half the staff at random. Or everyone in a modern society when you kill half the truck drivers who get the food into town. And so on. You kill half the people, and then the lack of those guys kills a whole lot more.

Still, who the hell goes to a Marvel movie hoping it’s going to make any kind of sense? I get you, but honestly, Marvel really seem to think that this is serious business. So serious that they end the movie with Thanos winning, half the universe dead and loads of feature players turned into dust. If they were really serious, they’d be saving a fortune on all the sequels. Not to mention the number of good actors who can get back to doing something other than react to green painted tennis balls. It would be a genuinely bummer ending if we believed for one second that Marvel really meant it and wasn’t going to spend two and a half more hours next year pressing the reset button and bringing everyone bakc to life. As it is, it’s just - meh.

Mostly because the movie is stuffed with characters to the point where no-one gets more than a couple of lines. Hawkeye’s not even in the movie, and I think he gets more lines than Black Widow. Rocket barely gets anything to do. Between a roller coaster of action scenes and way too many characters, there’s almost no chance for anyone do make a connection with the audience. When you’re hardly there, it doesn’t really register when you turn into dust and blow away. Unless you’re Spiderman, I guess.

And in every cinema, you’re going to get a trailer for Deadpool 2, which shows that there is another way to go; keep it small, keep it scrappy, keep it funny. There are more funny moments in that trailer than in the whole of Infinity War, whose cleverest joke is stunt casting Peter Dinklage as a giant. The second funniest moment is Scarlet Witch showing up to sort out the final fight and basically render everyone else in it irrelevant; one of the Wakandan guard looks straight to camera and says “Why wasn’t she here from the beginning?”, on behalf of the whole audience, and then the scene cuts back to what she was supposed to guarding as the sneaky bad guys pounce on the real prize in her absence. That’s actually cleverer than the Dinklage moment, but it’s hard to out funny Tyrion.

Anyhow, roll on Deadpool. Deadpool would at least TRY to cut the arm off.

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